With the end of the 21-22 season around the corner and the NBA Draft Lottery scheduled to take place on Tuesday May 17, let’s breakdown who we view as the top 14 prospects.
Is the most talented player in an NBA draft also the most important player, or even the best player to take with the top pick in the draft? The goal should always be to build a Championship roster. With that in mind, should we over value the flashy 6’1 Guard who may be projected to score 25 points per game even if history dictates that teams led by small guards rarely win championships? (Detroit’s Isiah Thomas being the rare example). Data tells us that size, length, and versatility results in winning basketball. For this mock the players are broken out into tiers with their projected outcome.
Tier 1: Top 2 Players on a Championship level team
Tier 2: All Star Potential
Tier 3: High End Starter
Tier 4 Starter
Tier 5: Rotation
Tier 6: Low Floor Wing Bets
Tier 7: Low Floor Second Round Bets
1. Chet Holmgren: Height – 7’0 Weight – 195 lbs
If selected with the first overall pick, Chet will go down as having one of the lowest floors for a number one pick. A scary proposition for any GM willing to take him but his high-end outcome is way too tantalizing to overlook. Chet projects as an elite shot blocker with the lateral quickness to stick with guards even after being beat off the dribble. Offensively, he possesses guard skills that allows him to lead on fast breaks and beat opposing bigs off the dribble. His three-point shooting is coming along and he has good touch around the rim. If Chet hits his end outcome, he’s a Franchise altering player that can define a team’s defensive culture (ala Rudy Gobert) but also be utilized on the offensive end to great impact. The problem is his weight. At 195 lbs, he’ll be one of the skinniest players in the league. With the highest ceiling in the draft, I still believe it’s worth taking him top overall.
2. Jabari Smith Jr: Height – 6’10 Weight – 210 lbs
Smith is one of the best hustlers on defense in draft while also possessing arguably the best jumper. At 6’10, Smith offers teams a shot making big that can space the floor. His lack of ball handling skill limits his ability to create his own shot and forces him to only play the 5/4 on offense.
3. Paolo Banchero: Height – 6’10 Weight – 250 lbs
With various interior moves and the quickness to beat opposing bigs off the bounce, I expect Banchero to make an immediate impact to the team that drafts him. An underrated skill is his ability to play make off the dribble. With NBA spacing and if his shot continues to develop, I can see a scenario in which Banchero’s playmaking will be his elite skill.
4. Shaedon Sharpe: Height – 6’6 Weight – 175 lbs
An above the rim wing who thrives on fast-paced teams. His elite handles allow him to be shifty and his ability to shoot the ball makes him a threat anywhere on the court. Sharpe is a gamble as he hasn’t played any college basketball this season but is a gamble worth taking as high-end versatile wing players are hard to come by in the NBA.
5. Jaden Ivy: Height – 6’4 Weight- 195 lbs
A dynamic isolation player with a monster first step that allow him to get the rim with ease. Ivy is one of the best athletes in the draft and will definitely turn heads with his monstrous dunks in the league but it remains to be seen how his lack of playmaking ability and defensive struggles will impact him in the NBA.
6. Keegan Murray: Height – 6’8 Weight – 215 lbs
With the best feel for the game in the draft, Keegan is going to a good player and I wouldn’t be surprised if he ends up better than player’s selected above him. With such a high floor and low ceiling it makes sense to have him at the top of tier 3. Expect him to play point forward with responsibility on him to make smart reads to give his team the best chance to win.
7. Jeremy Sochan: Height – 6’9 Weight – 230 lbs
A versatile wing player who is able to guard all five positions. An offensively limited player but is worth a high lottery pick due to his willingness to make hustle plays, playmaking skills, and his overall basketball intelligence. His NBA outcome all depends on if he’s able to develop a reliable jump shot.
8. AJ Griffin: Height 6’6 Weight – 222 lbs
A gifted wing scorer who can light it up from 3. Also possess the ball handling skill to create his own shot. He’s tough but not a great defensive player to project as a 3 and D wing.
9. Jalen Duren: Height 6’10 Weight – 230 lbs
An athletic and explosive shot blocker who already has the NBA frame to oppose other NBA bigs. Projects as a decent finisher at the rim and a good pick and roll partner. Will need to work on reading pick and roll defense in order to be an elite defensive presence.
10. Dyson Daniels: Height – 6’6 Weight – 199 lbs
A gifted playmaker and defender, that utilizes his strong feel for the game to facilitate and to control the tempo of a basketball game. The lack of shot making upside limits his ceiling. Dyson can become a reliable starting point guard if he continues to improve his 3 point shot.
11. Bennedict Mathurin: Height – 6’6 Weight – 210 lbs
An elite spot up three point shooter who also possesses the athleticism to be an above the rim finisher on fast break plays. Will need to improve his defensive consistency to project as a 3 and D wing.
12. Blake Wesley: Height – 6’5 Weight – 181 lbs
One of the best handles in the draft, Wesley is able to break down the defense with ease. This is an upside pick that projects Blake adding better passing reads and a more consistent three point shot to his repertoire.
13. Johnny Davis: Height – 6’5 Weight – 194 lbs
A shifty, playmaking guard who thrives off of making mid-range plays. Davis is most comfortable in the mid-range which also happens to be the most inefficient shot in the game.
14. TyTy Washington: Height – 6’3 Weight – 197 lbs
A guard with a great feel for the game and a knack of getting his teammates in great position to make plays. TyTy had an injury riddled season but I believe in his shooting ability to translate to the NBA.